Playing with Bad Factions

This article is going to be a little different from my usual writing. I was thinking about a Drukhari write-up in one form or another, but, for now, I’m going to put that to one side, and there are a couple of good reasons to do so.

First, there are plenty of sources online for a review of the new Drukhari codex, and since I’m not an expert in the faction, I can’t offer anything more compelling than that which is already available at the moment.

Second, I want to give it a little time to settle in order to have something interesting to say.

But, having said that, I do want to point something out: as far as I can see, the new Drukhari codex makes the faction one of the strongest in the game. It has so many useful tools to deal with any competitive list that’s out there at the moment, and the faction can still do what strong armies in 9th edition have to do: play the primary and play it well.

Is it as good as some of the best factions in the game? It’s certainly possible. We’ll just have to wait and see.

With that out of the way, let’s get into what I actually want to discuss in this article. I want to talk about how to enjoy the hobby with a poorly-performing army.

There’s a lot to say about this subject and there are lots of different places to go, but I want to begin with an obvious point. The game changes. With enough time, strong factions will waiver and weak factions will become powerful.

In fact, a quotation from the original T’au codex puts it best: “The one constant in the universe is change. The wise adapt”.

However, the fact that our outgunned and outmatched minis will be more playable in the future isn’t always particularly helpful when we’re losing games right now.

And there’s no doubt that it’s tricky to project oneself into the future to a moment when those models will actually do something interesting on the tabletop. That which is occurring at this moment, there or thereabouts, is a very powerful motivator.

How, then, do we deal with this? Honestly, I don’t think that there is one answer to which we can point in order to better enjoy the hobby when things aren’t going our way. But I will offer a couple of ideas that I find helpful when it comes to this problem.

First of all, learning to lose with grace and good cheer will go a long way.

Look, no one likes to lose a game of 40k. In fact, no one likes to lose anything. This much is obvious. And I’m not going to talk about how losing is an opportunity to learn and improve, even though it is and you should, but learning to lose with grace and good cheer is a good strategy for life.

There are all sorts of clichés on the subject on failure, and I think that, roughly speaking, there’s probably a lot of truth in most of them. In order to build a really good product, you’ve got to fail at building a really good product quite a lot. That generally sums up the cliched wisdom on the subject of failure: fail until you succeed.

Does this apply to 40k? I would argue that it does. In fact, I would argue that it’s one of the best ways to actually get really good at the game. Take a bad faction and play with it. You’ll lose a whole load of games. You might get the odd win on occasion, but you’ll do a lot of losing.

And if you do so with grace and good cheer, you’re far more likely to learn something that will improve your game the next time.

But more importantly, you’re much more likely to be someone with whom other people want to play 40k.

Let me put it like this: be the opposite of that guy.

Where that guy is sullen and frustrated when he loses, be open and engaging. Where that guy gloats and brags when he wins, be humble and magnanimous.

Again, we’re getting pretty close to the territory of life advice, but I would absolutely stand by it. I firmly believe that how one does one thing is how one does everything; I think there’s going to be a lot of crossover between graciously losing a game of 40k and having the quality of grace more generally in oneself.

That, then, is the first idea: learn to lose with grace and good cheer.

The second idea: study the game.

Honestly, this is just good advice if you want to be good at any particularly game — not just 40k. But it certainly applies if you’re playing a low-tier faction and you’re trying to get every advantage possible in your games of 40k.

What do I mean by this? If you’re really interested in playing 40k well, learn how the best players play the game and try to implement their strategies into your game.

Fortunately, this is pretty easy.

Not only are there many sources of battle reports and tactics articles throughout the internet, but there are specific services dedicated to improving people’s performance on the tabletop.

Now, do you have to get a coaching session with the Skari or Nick Nanavati in order to be great at 40k? Absolutely not. But you could certainly check out the Skared Cast or the Art of War. You could make a note of which secondary objectives comes up most often. You could keep an eye on how many units take mid-board objectives early in the game. You get the idea.

And here’s the thing about studying 40k when you’re playing a bad faction. When you’re faction becomes good — and it will — you’ll be in much better place to take advantage of it.

If, for example, you know that you need models on objectives in order to remain competitive on the primary — a profound 40k insight, I know — and your Fire Warriors are often swept off objectives with little more than a brief swing of a Bladeguard’s sword, when Fire Warriors gain an Engagement Range-only 4+ invulnerable save and the ability to shoot in combat at -2 AP, you’re going to be in a good place to take advantage.

All right. We T’au players can dream. But you get the idea.

At the beginning of this article I mentioned that the new Drukhari is one of the strongest factions in the game, and, as we continue to open up here in the UK, I’m going to soon find out exactly how strong the faction is. My most frequent opponent plays Drukhari, and let’s just say that I’m not looking forward to dealing with all those shiny new datasheets.

But I’m going to do my best to take my own advice. Generally speaking, I’m a pretty cheerful dude, and I’m going to endeavour to maintain that cheer even if things go pear-shaped by turn two.

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



About Rhys Jenkins

Software developer, T'au player.
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Rob Butcher
Rob Butcher
1 year ago

very small compared to any other competitive hobby … more play scrabble then 40K !!

Kitchen table
village hall


so play the game using an army you love … especially when many of us have only played remotely for 400 days

1 year ago
Reply to  Rob Butcher

Very small being relative. W40K events are rather big compared to my average hobby.

Also, saying “play what you love” is a good advice, but a lot of people love to have a chance to win. That’s why imbalances are problematic : they can remove a lot of enjoyement from people.

1 year ago
Reply to  Rob Butcher

thats a great suggestion Rob I would love an official GW licensed Tau Scrabble set

1 year ago
Reply to  kaixaukyr


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